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24 Tips for Credit Card Protection

Credit Card Protection Tips Consumers Must Know

In general, credit cards ensure safe and simple monetary transactions.  However, if you don’t proceed with caution, credit cards can be extremely dangerous to your financial stability.  But with a little credit card fraud protection, you can decrease the likelihood of criminal activity.

Here are 24 things you can do to ensure the best possible chance of credit card protection.

General Card Safety

  1. Keep accurate records regarding your credit cards. Make a note of account numbers and expiration dates.  Keep this information – along with the phone number to file a scam report – in a safe place.
  2. Don’t let anyone else use your card without your supervision – this includes your children.
  3. Consider purchasing a lock box for your home office to keep your receipts and statements safe.  At the very least, don’t file them in folder that says “credit card statements.”  And definitely don’t leave this sensitive information lying out in the open!
  4. Shred information like credit card receipts and statements before throwing them away.
  5. Let your credit card company know if you’ll be moving and/or changing addresses.
  6. Inform the credit card company if you plan to travel outside your usual purchasing area.
  7. Open your credit card statement as soon as it arrives in the mail.
  8. Check your account status online frequently.
  9. Your credit card statement should arrive like clockwork.  If it doesn’t, contact the company right away.  Fraudsters can fill out a change of address form and reroute your statements so you don’t detect fraud until it’s too late.
  10. Keep a close eye on your credit report.  You are allowed one free report from each of the three bureaus each year (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion).  Contact a different bureau every four months to take full advantage of this free offer.  Note any discrepancies – especially between the three reports.

Making Purchases In Person

  1. Don’t carry your credit cards in your wallet.  Identity theft is much easier if the criminal has access to both your financial account information and your personal information (full name, address, etc.) that is listed on your ID.
  2. Only take the credit card you need for that particular shopping spree.  The fewer cards you carry, the more credit card protection you’ll have!
  3. Always make sure you get your card back from the clerk at the conclusion of the transaction.
  4. Don’t leave your card with a bartender to start a tab. Always pay for each individual drink.

Making Purchases over the Phone or on the Internet

  1. Don’t give your credit card information to anyone unless you called them.
  2. Before calling a company with the intention of using your credit card, do an online search.  Make sure the company is reputable.  You’ll be able to find both positive reviews and negative complaints online.
  3. Always clear your login information after making an online purchase – especially on a public computer or a mobile device (which could be stolen).
  4. Change your online passwords each month.
  5. For ultimate credit card fraud protection, don’t use a debit card when shopping online.  Credit cards have much higher security and protection than debit cards.
  6. Don’t enter your personal information on a website unless you are comfortable with the security controls.

If Fraud Occurs

  1. If you come across suspicious activity on your credit card statement, take action right away.
  2. Try contacting the merchant directly if you have questions about a transaction.
  3. Report a lost or stolen credit card immediately.  Most companies provide a toll free number that offers 24-hour customer service.  You can also contact eConsumer Services® for round-the-clock fraud protection.
  4. Try to determine how, when and where the fraud occurred.  The origin of the scammer will depend on the action you take.  For example, you’ll want to know how to report email scams and the steps necessary to report scam phone calls.

Credit card fraud protection is difficult to implement and doesn’t offer a guarantee that your money is safe.  However, you will surely be much more susceptible to fraudulent activity if you don’t put these measures into action.  Do the best you can when it comes to credit card protection and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your money and identity safe.